Ethiopian Airlines Group inaugurated its two cargo screening machines donated by Transportation Security Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security.
The Agency has provided the cutting-age machines, which gives 65 different views of baggage in three dimensions, scanning 250 items an hour and worth over 40 million Br, through its Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program.
In function, the scanning machines resemble the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), a non-invasive imaging technology that produces detailed anatomical images without using radiation.The screening devices also employ a technique called computed tomography, the latest in imaging for baggage scanning.
The machines were inaugurated early last week, with the presence of Michael Raynor, the United States Ambassador to Ethiopia, Gary Seffel, the United States Transportation Security Administration representative for East Africa and Tewolde Gebremariam, group CEO of Ethiopian, which operates 96 fleets with less than five years of age, and has 62 fleets ordered.
"The machines are donated with the primary aim of fighting terrorism and illegal smuggling that are concerns in the Horn of Africa," Seffel told Fortune.
"None of us can ensure our own security without strengthening the security of our partners," remarked Raynor during the inauguration ceremony. "Security in the aviation industry isn't a cost; it's an asset."
The 70 plus year-old Airline serves 15,000 to 17,000 passengers a day and fly to more than 100 international, passenger and cargo, destinations of which 58 cities are in the African network.
Out of the total stops, 44 of them are cargo destinations in Africa, the Gulf, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and North America with an average daily uplift of over 650tn on top of the belly-hold capacity with a daily uplift of over 200tn.
The machines, which are the first deployment to Africa, were directly provided to the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise, the wing of the Group which manages airports and airport facilities, according to Nick Barnett, the press officer of the United States Embassy in Addis Abeba.
"Despite the challenges that we have in our surrounding, we are very proud of the strength of our security," said Tewelde of Ethiopian which hires 16,200 employees as of January 31, 2017. Ethiopian generated 2.7 billion dollars revenue of which 232,817 million dollars was a net profit during the last fiscal year, according to its monthly factsheet published in April 2018.
Recently the Airlines inaugurated a new cargo terminal that lies on 150,000sqm of land. It has a capacity of accommodating 600,000tn of air cargo a year. The terminal costs the Airline a total of 150 million dollars.
The new machines are installed at Bole International Airport, which has been operating with walk-through machines, body-scanners and X-ray machines.
Ethiopia and the United State's relationship in the aviation sector started in 1935 when the African-American Aviator Colonel John Robinson came to Ethiopia. Ethiopian bought an aircraft from the United States giant Boeing and partnered with another United States company, Sabre, to upgrade the airline's booking system with a cost of 62.5 million dollars.